By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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The Heart of Service recognizes outstanding community work that has made a difference — and that has made Jefferson County a better place.
This year's recipients will be announced in the Peninsula Daily News next Sunday, May 12.
Nominations for the Heart of Service are made annually to the PDN, and the recipients are selected from those nominations by a blue-ribbon judging committee that includes leaders of the three Jefferson County Rotary Clubs.
The award ceremonies — open to the public — begin at noon Tuesday, May 21, in the Maritime Meeting Room at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St. in downtown Port Townsend.
Peninsula Daily News
Such deeds epitomized those honored with the annual service award during ceremonies before an audience of more than 200 on Thursday in the fellowship hall at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Angeles.
“I love our veterans,” Money said.
“What would our country be if we didn't have them?”
The community service award honors the “dedication, sacrifice and accomplishments” of community leaders and volunteers “who have made a difference in Clallam County, who have made our communities a better place by doing extraordinary things for their neighbors, their community or the environment.”
The other 2013 honorees are:
■ Leo Campbell, a retired Marine Corps major who has led Port Angeles High School's NJROTC — Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps — by example since 2003 and has poured thousands of service hours into the Port Angeles community, both as an individual and through inspiring the students of the NJROTC unit.
■ Thelma McCoy, an accomplished pianist who has given not only her talents to the North Olympic Peninsula's musical community but also her skill and passion as a teacher to aspiring musicians.
■ Chuck Preble, a tireless organizer, engineer and “boots on the ground” dynamo who has for years led efforts to build and extend the Olympic Discovery Trail.
■ Shawnna and Dan Rigg, a couple whose passion for lending a hand compels them into myriad arenas of community service in the Sequim area.
■ Janet Young, whose dogged enthusiasm and tenacity took her all the way to Olympia to secure money to build the Peninsula's first fully functional Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant playground in Port Angeles' Shane Park, named for her son, who died of injuries suffered there when it was being constructed in 1973.
A panel of judges selected the recipients from a field of 32 who were nominated by individuals, clubs, churches, businesses and other organizations.
The award was begun by the Peninsula Daily News 34 years ago and is now co-sponsored by the Soroptimist International of Port Angeles-Noon Club.
The recognition for Money came fewer than six months after she received the state Department of Veterans Affairs' 2012 Outstanding Service to Veterans Award.
“It means so much to me to get these awards, but you know, just helping the veterans is the biggest reward you could have,” she said.
Money noted that the North Olympic Peninsula has one of the highest per-capita veterans populations in the state, with about 15,000 veterans in Clallam and Jefferson counties.
One such veteran, Campbell, plans to move to Sioux Falls, S.D., to receive treatment at a specialty veterans hospital for a service-related leg injury.
He thanked his fellow NJROTC instructor, retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Jeff Perry; his cadets; their parents; and his wife, Brenda.
“I wish I could be the person that my wife is,” Campbell said.
“I'm blessed to have her. She makes me be the person I want to be.”
Eight nomination letters came in from colleagues, friends and students extolling Campbell's virtues as a selfless teacher, always willing to give.
McCoy was lauded for her dedication to teaching thousands of musicians, many of whom went on to prestigious schools and careers in music, said Joan Quigley, a longtime friend of McCoy who introduced her.
McCoy said she and her husband, Dick, settled in the Port Angeles area because of their love of the mountains and water.
“It's the greatest place on Earth,” she said.
Preble was “instrumental” in the construction of new segments of the Olympic Discovery Trail, especially the latest stretch between 10th Street in Port Angeles and Lower Elwha Road, Port Angeles City Councilwoman Brooke Nelson said.
“Without his drive, management acumen and keen leadership skills, the section of trail traversing the old Milwaukee Railroad grade may not have been accomplished until many years later,” Nelson said.
Preble prepared multiple grant proposals, established an Adopt-a-Trail system, co-wrote a handbook and serves as vice president of the Peninsula Trails Coalition.
He said many individuals, businesses and local governments have assisted in the expansion of the ODT.
“Never underestimate the value of a volunteer,” Preble said.
“The community wanted that trail to happen, and whatever we needed, somehow it was made to work.”
Shawnna and Dan Rigg
Shawnna Rigg took over the Sequim youth baseball league when it was on the brink of collapse about six years ago, Sequim real estate broker Mike McAleer told the audience at the award ceremonies.
“Dan joined her as the go-to guy for the league, and together, they saved it to ensure its stability today,” McAleer said.
Without government assistance, the Riggs built a softball field that draws teams to Sequim from all over the region.
The couple also are involved with the Sequim Irrigation Festival and volunteer at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula and food bank in Sequim.
Port Angeles Mayor Cherie Kidd, who co-hosted the ceremony, said Young “had a vision” for the Port Angeles park and formed a fundraising committee that helped the city pay for a state-of-the-art ADA-interactive playground that was dedicated April 27.
“Her committee took off like a rocket ship,” Kidd said.
“She lives across from the park and saw a need for children to play, and realized we needed a playground. Not just any playground, but a playground of significance.”
Young said the community support was “overwhelming.”
“The whole community stepped up,” she said.
“My committee was absolutely awesome — hardworking, never said no to anything, rolled up their sleeves, stepped up to the plate and got things done. I definitely didn't do it alone.”
The award recipients received framed certificates.
“This is a day about seven people whose unselfish efforts have made Clallam County a better place,” said John Brewer, PDN publisher and editor.
Brewer said the 2013 award recipients are “inspirational in both spirit and deed” and “heroic in the most untrivialized sense of that word.”
“These are everyday people who have improved our community,” Brewer added.
“They have made a meaningful difference in the lives of neighbors and communities. They have inspired and engaged others to get things done.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.